ZDHC Releases Wastewater Guidelines to Coordinate Industry Efforts & Eliminate Hazardous Chemicals

The ZDHC Programme, a collaboration of 22 leading brands, 13 value chain affiliates and 7 associates, today releases its Wastewater Guidelines, a unified expectation on wastewater quality for the entire textile and footwear industry.

The Wastewater Guidelines build on a study conducted in 2015, which revealed that, despite efforts, there exists no unified set of expectations for suppliers that discharge industrial wastewater.

This is of concern as the production of textile and footwear involves a large quantity of water and if not treated properly, presents a threat to people and the environment. Further, a lack of consistency between brands around expectations can lead to confusion within the value chain.

Today, ZDHC addresses this issue with the release of the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines, a harmonised set of wastewater parameters, limit values and test methods, which will ensure brands and suppliers are working to the same set of expectations.

 “The release of the Wastewater Guidelines is good news for workers, consumers, and the environment,” said Executive Director Frank Michel.

 “Suppliers will no longer face multiple guidelines depending on which brand they’re dealing with, and brands won’t face the challenge of individually ensuring each supplier is complying with their requirements.”

The ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines are free to download from the ZDHC website, and all actors within the value chain are encouraged to adopt them.

“Addressing this environmental challenge cannot be achieved alone,” says ZDHC Michel, calling on the textile and footwear industries to take action.

“To achieve meaningful, long-lasting impact, we need the entire industry, including NGOs, to adopt and support this standard.”  

The Guidelines have been endorsed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), with Jason Kibbey, SAC CEO, stating, “we’ve built the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines into the next version of the Higg Index and believe they will be a great step forward for improving one of the most impactful areas of apparel production.” 

The Guidelines were finalised following an extensive process of collaboration between ZDHC contributors, NGOs, suppliers, and a technical advisory committee. In July, the public were invited to provide input and and 295 comments were received. To promote transparency, these are available to download here.

In the coming weeks, a pilot programme will commence to implement the guidelines across several brands, countries and facility types.

The Wastewater Guidelines are available in English and Simplified Chinese for now. 

For the English version:

Download the online version of the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines here.  

Download the print version of the the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines here

Download the FAQs here.

For the Simplified Chinese version: 

Download the online version of the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines here.  

Download the print version of the the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines here

Download the FAQs here.

Wastewater Guidelines Online Version